Venice, FL Legislators Don't See Eye-To-Eye On Airport
"Apparently, the Venice City Council
doesn’t welcome honest advice from its Florida citizens."
That's the message the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association has
received, after the council called for the resignation of every
member of the seven-seat airport advisory board.
"It is a stunning slap to the aviation community," AOPA
Last month, the city council voted 5-2 to ask all the board
members to resign. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, three
members of the board have already stepped down... and the paper
urged the other four members to do the same.
"Asking advisory board members to resign is a drastic step," the
paper wrote in a July 29 op-ed piece. "But, in this case, the
request is warranted... the airport board ventured beyond mere
disagreement by waging what Paul Hollowell, its chairman, described
in an e-mail as a strategy of "containment" or "holding actions"
aimed at blocking the council from obtaining an amended master plan
for Venice Municipal Airport."
AOPA notes board members haven’t always seen eye to eye
with the city council on airport issues. In particular, the airport
needs safety improvements to Runway 4/22, according to airport
Along with the FAA, the pilot advocacy group told the city it
needs to make the airport a top priority. Previously, the council
proposed shortening the runway or restricting the size of aircraft
operating there. The association hopes the council will take action
to improve the airport by submitting its updated airport master
plan to the FAA before the end of August.
"Despite the fact that the guidance of the board may run
contrary to the opinions of those who service on the city council,
the city would be well served in maintaining the current airport
advisory board members and acting on the solid guidance they have
offered the city’s elected officials," wrote Heidi Williams,
AOPA senior director of airports, in a letter to Venice Mayor Ed
Martin. "Advisory bodies like this should not be filled with
'yes-men,' but rather with individuals who can offer the city their
expertise and good judgment."
With over 415,000 members, AOPA says it is committed to ensuring
the continued viability, growth, and development of aviation and
airports in the United States. These airports are a vital and
critical component of a national transportation system.